Bully Sticks - Which Ones Should You Buy?
Common Myths about Bully sticks or Pizzle (the technical term):
TRUE or FALSE?
1. Pizzle must be flushed to get the urine out?
Think of a Bully Stick not like a standard round garden hose but more like a collapsed fire hose. Many companies thaw product in water which would wash away any remnant of urine.
2. Pizzle are hung with weights to make them longer?
Bully sticks are cooked on flat slotted racks. Think about this a bit. Hanging would take a lot of time and effort as well as small weights. There is nothing to gain by using a hanging process.
3. Bully Sticks just smell bad but dogs don't mind?
If Bully Sticks smell bad and give off a “sour” smell it means sometime during its lifetime it went rancid. Most likely this occurred at the time the pizzle was removed from the bull/steer and before refrigerating.
4. A cooked Bully Stick that doesn't smell means it's a good one?
If a bully stick is dried way down to below 9% moisture, even a rancid pizzle with a high bacteria load will not smell - that is until it gets into a dogs mouth. Once it interacts with a dog's saliva a strong, off odor will likely be present. A pizzle that has been dried down so as to remove most of the moisture ensures a long shelf life - good for the seller. However, it will likely break easily and won't last long.
At GREAT DOG our bully sticks have a pleasant, slightly meaty smell. We think dogs like them better with some smell. Because they haven't had the vast majority of the moisture removed, they also last longer.
5. Grass fed cattle give a better Pizzle?
It usually means the product was sourced and often cooked outside the USA. And even if it says it has been cooked in the USA, pizzle harvested outside the US are typically NOT harvested to USDA standards.
Consumers are often fooled by language such as "Made in the USA." Made in the USA is not equivalent to sourced in the USA. All this means is that the product was approved for entry into the US by the USDA. The product is then cooked in the USA - hence the "Made in the USA" claim. While technically correct, it's very misleading because most consumers believe that the raw product was both sourced and cooked in the US.
6. My dog won't like bully sticks now that I know what they are?
GREAT DOG has been in business for 30 years and we have yet to come across a dog who doesn't like bully sticks. Good bully sticks are the most coveted doggie chew. Why? Pizzle are cartilage, good ones taste great to dogs, they require gnawing and chewing so take time to get through, they are 100% digestible and they shouldn't leave a mess on carpets or floors.
What Should I look for When Buying Bully Sticks (Pizzle)?
Pizzle come in many different lengths and weights. Skinny Pizzle come from Steer (non-mature male cattle), the big thick ones come from older Bulls (mature male cattle) and even older “Breeder Bulls."
The product should have a pleasant meaty “note," but not a “sour” or rancid smell. As discussed above, if it's been dried down a great deal, you might not notice any smell until it makes it to your dog's mouth.
You should not be able to break the product with two hands. In other words, a good bully should bend and the ends should not look crystalized. Since Pizzle is not an inexpensive product ask a salesperson where it was sourced, where it was cooked, and how fresh it is. A reputable seller should have the answers to these questions. You should expect that the product was sourced in the USA and harvested and cooked in USDA inspected facilities.
All GREAT DOG Bully Sticks - both beef and bison - are sourced in the USA and cooked in human grade, inspected facilities. The vast majority of GREAT DOG bully sticks we sell are less than 3 months “off the hoof,” and were sourced from MN, WI, ND, and SD.
Lastly, bully sticks are 100% digestible making them a much safer and healthy product for your dogs than rawhide chews. Beware of feeding your dogs rawhide, especially if they are deep chested.